Tuesday, January 20, 2009

state of the belle: pretty, patriotic, articulate, and in pain

A very nice weekend: a romantic getaway on Saturday to Sunday to nearby scenic destination. On Saturday, at this delicious chain burger establishment, TD and I were discussing TARP and EESA and the stretching of the statutory language to re-label pretty much everything as a toxic asset and the proper role of government, etc. The guy at the table next to us remarked on how surprised he was that we were discussing the economy over lunch, and told TD that I was "lovely and so articulate. You are a lucky man, and you two make a handsome couple." I thought about chiming in "and I'm clean, too!" but I didn't. Instead I was gracious and thanked him, we wished him a good day, and afterwards were like WTF.

On Sunday we listened to some inauguration coverage and felt surges of elation coming from whence we knew not. It wasn't just listening to the snippets of grandiloquence, but also just a feeling of happiness and optimism. We just felt good. Monday we listened to Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech on the radio and I teared up a bit and felt both happy and serious. I told TD that I had always loved American history and politics and law, but not until I turned 18 did I feel really personally invested in the political system. That I had a stake in it, and almost felt a sense of ownership and responsibility. That sense was kind of bludgeoned to death in 2000 and further kicked lying down in 2004, but in November 2008, that invested citizenship was reawakened. I am sad to say that during times of repressed civil liberties and war I feel less invested in my country, when in fact I should feel more compelled and impelled to care and do something. So I listened to the speech and felt more motivated than I have before, because the commitment to service and country is best held aloft by hope and real potential for actual change. I wish I had felt this way eight years ago. But maybe the maturity of experience is better than the naivete of youthful idealism. Afterwards, we had a nice day with friends at some other nearby scenic destination and drank wine and ate food.

One of his friends was a plastic surgeon, and when he saw me weakly hold a pen, I told him I had carpal tunnel. He examined it. It is pretty bad. I have a loss in motor skills, flexibility, and pain, and he can see how my right hand has lost some muscle compared to my left. Which is also starting to hurt! I have been doing hand exercises, but he's going to refer me to a hand specialist for real hand therapy and splints, and if that doesn't help, it's surgery. Gah. Did you know that plastic surgeons do most of the surgeries? He says that there's no real turning back, that the nerve just progressively weakens and it's harder to fix when it gets really bad. Double Gah. I am typing this in spurts and taking breaks to do exercises and am on painkillers. Because I can't open bags of chips or use can openers or hold things and have flareups of pain, TD is telling me to stop punting and fix this ASAP.

So if I don't email you and don't blog more than 2-3 times a week, this is why. My productivity is really suffering, and so I apparently have to conserve hand strength.

I will say though, that I thought the inauguration speech was pretty great, with a great balance of economy of words, hopeful rhetoric, and appropriate solemnity. It's a great day for America.